Cyprus tourist arrivals up 7.9 per cent thanks to Russians
NICOSIA, Sept 18 — Recession-hit Cyprus posted a 7.9-per cent rise in tourist arrivals for August compared with the same month last year, thanks to a spike in Russian holidaymakers, official data showed yesterday.
The total number of tourist arrivals on the Mediterranean island reached 363,573 in August from 337,013 in the same month of 2011, according to the state statistical office.
The surge was largely attributed to the arrival of 79,291 tourists from Russia, up 55 per cent in August compared with the same month in 2011.
There were also 13.5 per cent more holidaymakers from Germany (to 13,616), a 6.9 per cent hike from Sweden (18,545), a 25.6 per cent rise from Israel (6,688) and a 14.6 per cent increase from France (5,697).
On the downside, tourist arrivals from Britain — Cyprus’ largest market — dropped 7.0 per cent on year to 146,136.In addition, there was a 7.8-per cent fall in tourists from Greece, 24.6 per cent slide from The Netherlands and 6.5 per cent drop from Denmark.
Arrivals for the first eight months of 2012 rose 3.5 per cent on year to 1.72 million, including an estimate for March when no survey was conducted, according to the data.
Over the same period, Russia cemented its place as the island’s second biggest market, while Germany recaptured third place and Greece pipped Sweden for fourth spot.
Annual tourism revenue in Cyprus rose to its highest level for three years in 2011, reaching €1.75 billion (RM7.1 billion) despite the financial crisis.
Income from tourism accounts for around 12 per cent of Cyprus’ gross domestic product.
Cyprus’ economy is expected to shrink by at least 1.5 per cent this year, with the downturn continuing until 2014. It contracted by 2.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2012 compared with the same period of last year.
The island is currently in negotiations with European and international lenders for EU assistance to bail out its Greek-exposed banks and cover the government’s fiscal requirements. — AFP/Relaxnews